Sunday, December 26, 2010

Writing Update Dec 26

So, between Christmas shopping and festivities and a very sick dog, I didn't get any writing done this week. Hopefully, I'll be able to get more written in the coming week. And even more hopefully, I hope my dog gets to come home from the Animal hospital in the next few days.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recipe: Mushroom and Steak Stroganoff

This recipe was an absolute hit with the family and is being posted by special request of a family friend.

Mushroom and Steak Stroganoff
(from Slow Cooker Recipe Cards, Taste of Home December 2010)

Ingredients:
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1-3/4 lbs round steak, cut into 1-1/2 inch strips
  • 1 can, 10-3/4 oz condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup onion soup mix
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh parsley
Directions:
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Add the meat and shake to coat.

Transfer the meat to the crock pot. In a medium bowl, combine the cream of mushroom soup, water, and soup mix. Pour over the meat. Cook on low for six or seven hours.

Stir in the mushrooms, sour cream and parsley. Cook for fifteen minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Serve with noodles, if desired


Tidbits of Christmas: Christmas Lime Tree

Due to an convoluted chain of events we ended up with an extra string and a half of colored lights for our Christmas Tree. As a result, there are now Christmas Lights on our lime tree and the piano. As a bonus, the good old Klingon Bird of Prey ornament doesn't fit into the new lights; so there's a Bird of Prey in the Christmas Lime Tree.

Here's a detailed shot of the Bird of Prey:

And here's the rest of the extra lights across the top of the piano:


Toy Story 3 Swing Clip


Here's a Toy Story 3 Short featuring Woody and Jesse swinging out.

And here's the lindy hop clip from ULHS 2006 that probably inspired the Toy Story Short. Watch the first phrase from Todd and Frida!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Doctor Who Christmas Special

With Christmas each year comes the Doctor Who Christmas Special which is enough to make just about any geek squeal with glee! For your viewing pleasure, I present the teaser for this year's Christmas Special.

Steampunk Signal Boost: The Circus of Brass and Bone

"The Circus of Brass and Bone" is an online Steampunk serial story about a circus traveling through the collapse of civilization. "The Circus of Brass and Bone" is being written to help raise money for the cancer treatments of the author's mother. The story is updated every other week and is an exciting Steampunk story. I've been really enjoying the anticipation of waiting for the story to unfold.

Here's a short excerpt:

The day the ringmaster died, so did civilization.

Knowing nothing of what was to come, we complained of boredom as the ship steamed from Bombay* to Boston. There was little to do except rehearse, drink, and gamble over cards. Everything tasted of salt, and bathing in seawater anointed us all with the perfume of dead fish. A plague of short temper spread through the troupe. I had no friends among them, so I took pleasure at seeing them snarl at each other like fighting dogs.

A three-day bout of seasickness* soured the ringmaster's disposition further. Though Mr. Loyale's health seemed to recover, his temper didn't. When Miss Miller (The Fabulous Lady Equestrienne Who Defies The Fiery Rings of Death!) declared her intention to begin her dress rehearsal without him, her expression was promising.

Promising that if Mr. Loyale berated her for not waiting, he'd better hope a gelding knife wasn't to hand.

Promising a fine show for us.

Read More...



I definitely recommend checking out this story!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Writing Update Dec 19th

I haven't been as good about writing regularly as I would like but I'm still really excited about writing. I've got a new project to play around with in addition to my current projects. I'm hoping to get a piece written for the Steampunk Shakespeare Anthology. That will require some brushing up on Shakespeare's play for inspiration but I'm excited about it.

I've finally gotten my Steampunk murder mystery entirely plotted out. At the moment, it looks like there will be a prologue, seven chapters and six interludes. I may have to do some character work before I get too much writing done on the first draft.


Tidbits of Christmas: How to Wrap a Cat for Christmas


That is one very understanding Cat! I kept waiting for the cat to shred the paper and turn into a very angry cat.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Semi-Formal Swing Dance and Gingerbread Contest

Sunday Swing this Week is a Semi-formal
December 19th, 2010

The Scottish Rite
1507 SW Morrison, Portland, OR

7:00pm - Beginning Swing Lesson
8-11pm - Swing Dance!

$6 - Students with ID/Stumptown Dance Members
$8 - General

In addition to dancing, the evening festivities will also include a Raffle, 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Contest & Optional "White Elephant" Gift Exchange! This year there are two categories for the gingerbread contest: 1) 100% edible and 2) Anything goes. The winners of the Gingerbread House contest will get private lessons!


We will also be helping with a local ministry for the elderly and mentally ill homeless citizens right here in Portland. We are collecting clean, new or used blankets that will be distributed in Portland by Blanket Coverage (Operated by a family from our dance community.) FYI- Blankets can be purchased by the pound or on sale at various Goodwill or other second hand stores around town. Please wash the blankets before bringing them to the dance. Blankets do not need to be wrapped as they will be used right away to keep someone warm at night.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: The Clockwork Man by William Jablonsky

The Clockwork Man is the tale of Ernst a clockwork man created and put in service as a servant for his master's family. He falls in love with his Creator's daughter but his real adventures begin when tradgedy strikes his master's family. The Clockwork Man is presented as the journal of Ernst written for academics that will never actually get to see what Ernst has written. The Clockwork Man follows Ernst as his discovers what it means to be himself, he struggles with his sense of identity as an individual and property to be owned and the dichotomy that that creates. Ernst learns a great deal about both himself and humanity. Ernst learns a great deal about both himself and humanity.

I was surprised by the journal format of The Clockwork Man since I hadn't seen any reviews and had only seen that it was from the perspective of a clockwork invention. At first, I was disappointed by the journal format but as I continued to read it brought the characters to life in a way that might not have been possible using another style of writing. I loved the emotions given to Ernst and the way he reacts to his changing reality. I really enjoyed The Clockwork Man and would definitely recommend it to others.

Tidbits of Christmas: The Twelve Wrecks of Christmas


Another variation on the twelve days of Christmas, this time with terrible cakes! Jen over at Cake Wrecks clearly had a great time with the Christmas wrecks!

On the First day of Christmas my True Love gave to me; a chocking hazard in a tree!

For the rest of the song, you should wander over to Cake Wrecks!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Hot Spiced Cider

This is a favorite winter drink in my family. In fact, I currently have a mug of Spiced cider sitting next to me.

Hot Spiced Cider

You will need:
- A Crockpot/Slow Cooker
- 8-10 inches of Cheesecloth
- A ladle

Ingredients:
- Apple Cider (A gallon of store bought apple cider pretty well fills our mid to large sized Crockpot)
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 2 tsp Whole Cloves
- 2 tsp Whole Allspice

Directions:
Lay out the cheesecloth on your counter. Measure out the Cloves and Allspice into the center of the cheesecloth. Break the sticks of cinnamon into smaller pieces. I generally break them into three pieces each and place them in the center of the cheesecloth. To tie the cheesecloth, I generally wrap the cheesecloth around the spices to create a long tube and tie the ends of the tube together. That generally forms a nice sized packet of spices that won't come undone.

Pour the cider into the Crockpot and place the packet of spices in. Cover and turn the Crockpot on high. Once the cider is heated all the way through you can turn the Crockpot down to low and ladle the cider into mugs to serve.

Optional:
For an adult twist you can splash a bit of brandy into your mug of hot spiced cider.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Rudolph (You Don't Have to Put On The Red Light)

Fun little Mash-up with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Roxanne.

Fun Swing Clip from Killer Diller 2010


This clip is the Final at the Harvest Moon Ball from Killer Dillers Weekend up in Seattle a couple of weeks ago. I love the leap frog sequence at 3:12 and the tandem Charleston bit at 4:07. It was also interesting how different dancers covered up little bobbles and mistakes, it's most noticeable when they are coming out of air steps.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Sugar Cookies!


An annual family tradition is the decoration of the Christmas cookies. This is the final stage of our first batch of sugar cookies. I am especially happy with the snowman and the ornament. So naturally someone else has already eaten both of them.


Steampunk Signal Boost: Steampunk Shakespeare

Out of last Friday's Steampunk Twitter Chat (using #steampunkchat) comes a call for Steampunk short stories inspired by William Shakespeare.

Flying Pen Press will be producing an anthology of Steampunk adaptions of Shakespeare called: The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter.

For anyone interested, here is the details:


I, myself, definitely feel the need to brush up on my Shakespeare!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: 12 Pains of Christmas- Doctor Who Style

A fun little mix of Doctor Who clips assembled to go with the 12 Pains of Christmas. It definitely made me want to watch all of the Doctor Who Christmas Specials again!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writing Update Dec 12th

Since the end of NaNoWriMo, I've put my NaNo Novel away for the month of December. Luckily, I came up with three or four ideas to get started working on while I let my NaNo Novel cool off. I've also started making lists of what needs to be done when I let myself start in on my NaNo Novel again.

My new project is a Steampunk Murder Mystery set in a 1920's big city where the speakeasies of the 1920's have moved into airships. I've currently written a brief sketch or summary of the plot of the new novel. I've started detailed scene by scene outlines of the few two chapters and am getting more and more excited about getting to write the new novel. If it goes well, I might be able to turn it into a series about this particular detective.

Tidbits of Christmas: Advent Concert

Advent Concert at Tabor Heights United Methodist Church

4:00pm

6161 SE Stark, Portland OR

Featuring the hand bell choir, various vocal ensembles, and Helen Hollenbeck on the organ.

If you are a fan of hand bell music you may be pleased to know that the processional at the beginning of the concert will include a bell tree and tone chimes.

There will be a reception afterwards with tea and coffee.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: Christmas Swing Dance

Saturday, December 11
At the Vancouver Ballroom, 808 Main St, Vancouver, WA

7:30 - Lesson
8:30 - Dance

Admission

Student - $6
General - $8

Wear your favorite ugly Christmas sweater and get in for $5!

The Vancouver Swing Society is pleased to announce a holiday swing dance and party. We will have light hors d'oerves, contests and plenty of fun! The evening will feature old and new favorite swing songs plus danceable Christmas/holiday music.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: The Christmas Blues

An Old Favorite Christmas Song. I originally heard it on the Jazz to the World, easily one of my favorite Christmas CDs.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tidbit of Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas, Steampunk Style

Found on STEAMED!


On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

12 Air Pirates

11 Painted Ladies

10 Clock Hands

9 Ray Guns

8 Pairs Brass Goggles

7 Aviator Caps

6 Cogs and Gears

5 Mad Scientists

4 Flying Cars

3 Top Hats

2 Dirigibles

And an Airship in a Pear Tree!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tidbits of Christmas: I want an Alien for Christmas

Hurrah for Geeky Christmas Songs!



OryCon 2010


This year I was pleased to be able to go the Orycon at the Doubletree Inn in Portland. Orycon was my first Convention experience and it both amazed and surprised me. I was definitely overwhelmed by the variety of costumes including a girl as a Centaur. I made it to three (two?) panels depending on whether you count a NaNoWriMo write-in as a panel.

On Friday Evening, I didn't make it to a single panel. I know, shame on me. I wandered the fan tables and got a general idea of the content of the convention and costume watched profusely! I eventually connected with a few of the Rose City Steampunks and spent the rest of the evening wandering from room party to room party: from Hospitality to the Pirate Luau to the Costumer's Guild Alice in Wonderland Milk and Cookies party and back to Hospitality. We ended the evening costume watching because no one was quite ready to drive home.

Friday Night's Costume After I Removed the Underskirt and Petticoat


Part of my inability to make it to panels was that on Saturday I was badly double booked most of the day. I had an big Lindy Hop workshop with Stefan and Bethany on Fast Dancing in the morning and a Murder Mystery Dance party at night. I managed to get to everything I wanted to on Saturday even though that meant I didn't get to go to some of the panels that I was really interested in. I also took some time to investigate the Dealer's room and Art Show. The Dealer's room was full of fun stuff though most of it was out of my price range, plus I was trying to avoid the book stalls since I was trying to concentrate on writing my NaNoWriMo novel. I really enjoyed walking through the art show and found a few small prints to bid on.

Saturday Panels I attended:

So you want to be a writer?

John Hedtke, Bruce Taylor, Gail Carriger, Gordon Eklund

The Panelists talked openly and honestly about the financial side of being a writer. They discussed the pros and cons of being a full time writer and being a writer with a "real job" to support the writing habit. They also talked honestly about the advance and what it means and the reality behind the royalty checks. There were a variety of types of writing represented: Original Novels, Tie in Fiction, Technical Writing, and writing for comics. The result was a nice down to earth discussion with something for everyone to take away.

NaNoWriMo: Shut up and Write-in!

We did a great job at the writing part but shutting up didn't go very well since we decided to go around the room and share what we were writing. I was the only one who was writing with pen and paper but I definitely had no intention of lugging my laptop around the Con.

Friday Night with a Fellow Rose City Steampunk

On Sunday, I only spent a couple of hours at OryCon but they were great. I attended one panel, watched the frenzy of a costume swap and picked up the single art piece that I won.

Sunday's Panel:

Steampunk: Victorian marvels of science fantastic

Gail Carriger, Camille Alexa, P.N. Elrod

I came in halfway through this panel and I really enjoyed the discussion between the three authors present. The discussion varied widely but my favorite part was the discussion of their favorite gadgets from their writings.

I went from the panel to the costume swap with a fellow Steampunk. I didn't bring anything to swap so I mostly tried to stay out of the way and watch the chaos while my friend scurried about. Nothing makes for entertaining people watching like a bunch of costumers scurrying around a room gathering costume pieces and swatches of fabric. Despite not entering the fray, I still came away with another costume as my friend shoved costume pieces at me. I finished my first convention experience by picking up the single piece of art that I had won: a print of dragons and flying cats by Sarah Clemens.

The Winner of the Costume Guild's Masquerade

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2011


I have decided to give myself some accountability in writing and posting reviews by joining the Speculative Fiction Challenge being hosted by Amanda over at Floor to Ceiling Books, a book blogger whose opinions and reviews I respect highly. The challenge is to read and review 12 speculative fiction books in a year; speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, urban fantasy and any other related genre. I certainly read far more than that many speculative fiction books in a year and I am trying to be more consistent in reviewing.

Prospective Books:
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  • Clementine by Cherie Priest (I will probably have to breakdown and acquire an electronic copy)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi
  • The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C Hines
  • Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton
  • Heartless by Gail Carriger
  • Ganymede by Cherie Priest
  • Bloodshot by Cherie Priest
  • Kraken by China Mieville
  • Steampunk edited by Jeff Vandermeer
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • Sequels of any of the above books
  • Older Science Fiction Classics

Winning NaNoWriMo



After the first half of November, you may have noticed that my daily wrap-ups evaporated. It probably doesn't come as a surprise that so did my daily writing sessions. I won NaNoWriMo by the skin of my teeth with a crazy 10K word day plus several larger than average word days. I finished with a total word count of 50681 words! My Novel has a long way to go to reach it's finished state including a whole plot line and crazy amounts of character development.

Things I learned along the way:
  • The sense of community really makes a difference: Large numbers of write-ins make the difference between 7K and 50K
  • Scrivener is Amazing! I discovered it too late to make full use of its feature with my NaNo novel but it is definitely making the editing process smoother.
  • I am definitely a plotter, not a pantser! I went into NaNoWriMo this year with an outline for probably a third of my novel and a general-specific idea about the rest. Yes, my ideas evolved during the writing process but a clear guide and destination made the process go a lot smoother.
  • Writing seriously on one idea makes the creative energy flow better and generates even more story ideas to try and distract you.
  • Attending two conventions in a month is terrible for trying to write consistently, but it was tons of fun!
  • Despite my best efforts to the contrary, my novel is not going to be a standalone.

Next Steps:
  • I'm putting away my NaNo Novel until January at which time I will attack it with the full force of my editing skills. Plus, you know, writing the bits I forgot, connecting all the plot points with filler, and fleshing out the point of view characters so that the reader cares. Not to mention removing all the extra words that NaNoWriMo forced me to leave in. All very important stuff.
  • Come up with a real title for my NaNoWriMo project.
  • Keep Writing!
  • Over the course of November, several story ideas burst into mind. I'll be working on plotting them out and starting in on first draft
  1. Short Story (Keeps Growing Longer): Zombies vs Unicorns
  2. Novel: Steampunk Murder Mystery, 1920's Airship Speakeasy
  3. Novel: Sequel to NaNoWriMo Novel
  4. Novel: Science Fiction, Viral Outbreak, experimenting with POV change
  • Graduate School Applications- an important next step in my life that has been feeling slightly neglected during NaNoWriMo
  • Catching up on Blogging: New Reviews, New Recipes, OryCon, SteamCon, Costume Updates
  • Rescuing Pictures from my Camera
  • Making Pop-up Christmas Cards

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Even the Pros Like Steal Dances

This is an awesome video clip of Annie Trudeau, Max Pitruzella, Alice Mei and Thomas Blacharz doing a steal dance. There's follows leading follows, leads leading leads, double-wide woman lindy, and lots of great dancing!

Day 17 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1637

Total Words Written: 27149

Write-ins attended: 11

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1637

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 15680

Cups of Coffee: 15

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 2

Number of Airships: 10

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Write-ins make me happy!
  • I started playing with Scrivener today. Wish I'd found it before NaNo!
  • Wish I could include the essays and emails that I've been writing for Grad School Applications in my Novel Word Count.

Small Snippet of Novel:

The two boys went up to the top deck and found a vantage point near the starboard wing mechanism and watched the scenery to the south. The sound of rifle shots and cannons was much louder now. Oliver pointed out across the sky and Jasper’s eyes followed to where he was pointing; there were several aerial warships engaging in battle. Jasper’s eyes identified three airships as Union ships and there were four that bore an unknown flag that must be the confederate flag. There were three or four other ships obscured enough that he couldn’t tell which nation they belonged to. Oliver gasped as a few aether the Union airships concentrated their aether cannons on a single conferate ship and confederate ship and the ship blew apart. Shards of metal flying through the sky to impale two of the other Confederate ships and raining hell down on the soldiers down below. One or two of the Union ships took considerable damage from the explosion as well. The ships's fire became far more disorganized as the Confederate Warships dropped out of formation and their fire became scattered and uneven. Oliver and Jasper watched in horror as the Union Airships pursued the Confederate ships and systematically blew them out of the sky.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Confereate

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 16 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1437

Total Words Written: 25512

Write-ins attended: 10

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1437

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 14043

Cups of Coffee: 14

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 7

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • The stress of trying to do everything got to be yesterday, but today was a good step towards regaining momentum in all of my projects.
  • Would have gotten more written if I hadn't had to type up the handwritten words from this weekend.
  • Hurrah for reaching 25K!

Small Snippet of Novel:

"I didn't know that it was so dangerous. Traveling between towns. I didn't think." Jasper's eyes were wide and just a touch wild. "I didn't think that one more or less person with a weapon would matter. I," Jasper paused and took a deep shuddering breath. "I can't help but think that if I hadn't refused to fight, if I hadn't been stubborn that those men might be alive now. Someone Unnamed Yet was my friend. And my inaction got him killed." Jasper looked turned away, ashamed of his outburst.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Aishipr

Barresl

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 14 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 53

Total Words Written: 24074

Write-ins attended: 9

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 0

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 12606

Cups of Coffee: 13

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 7

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Busy day scurrying around Portland was not very conducive to writing.

Small Snippet of Novel:

The Valor of the Sky had landed in an empty field half a day away from Union City to lick her wounds and take care of her dead. Jasper watched the vaguely religious ceremony taking place before him with the wide eyes of a young child at a circus.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

None

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Day 13 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1178

Total Words Written: 24021

Write-ins attended: 9

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1178

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 12606

Cups of Coffee: 12

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 7

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Handwriting bits of Novel gets complicated.
  • Having a Write-in at OryCon was amazing!
  • It was awesome getting to hear about some other novels.

Small Snippet of Novel:


"As a member of the crew of the Valor of the Sky, however temporary it may be, it is necessary for you to have a working knowledge of firearms." Flustered by the Captain's continued use of the word that he had no conceptual understanding of, Jasper extended his mental radius to brush the Captain's mind and extract the image that was near the surface of his thoughts and connected to the term firearm. The images connected to the term were those of a metal tube stuffed with black powder and metal slugs attached to a handle. Skimming a bit deeper, Jasper was disturbed by the images other images connected to the use of a firearm which he now understood to be a weapon that produced large gaping wounds and bloody messes that were once living breathing men. Jasper released the images and returned his concentration to the Captain's words. "Oliver is well versed in the use and maintenance of firearms and I am tasking assigning him the task of bringing you up to speed."

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Denfense

Navigatot

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Day 12 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1864

Total Words Written: 22843

Write-ins attended: 8

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1864

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 11428

Cups of Coffee: 11

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 7

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Almost out of outline. That might prove problematic!

Small Snippet of Novel:

Frederic and Daniel are in the barracks room that they share with two of the Imperial soldiers, having been sent below deck for the duration of the battle between the Reckoning of the Cockatrice and the Herald of Despair. Daniel is flopped bonelessly on his bunk watching Frederic pace back and forth in the small enclosed space. Both boys are tense, listening to the sounds of the battles taking place right above their heads. The deck ship shakes are as cannon balls impact with the hull. Underneath the booming explosions of the cannons is the lighter sharper pops of rifles. Listening harder, Frederic and Daniel can hear the thundering scuffle of melee fighting; the clash of sword against sword, the scrape of deflected knives and the undeniable thump of wrestling. Frederic and Daniel meet each other's eyes and are filling with the knowledge that they are thinking the same thing. Carefully, in case the danger is closer than they know, the two boys sneak out of the barracks and creep up the stairs leading to the top deck. Hovering at the last few steps the boys crouch down and peek up and out at the skirmish merely feet away from them.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Dails

Stuble

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 11 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1421

Total Words Written: 20979

Write-ins attended: 7

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 0

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 9564

Cups of Coffee: 10

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 7

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Not a complete loss of momentum but I have definitely been Week 2-ed.
  • I really love Write or Die.
  • Naming Airships is kind of a pain.
  • I have some awful Airship names:
    • Reckoning of the Cockatrice
    • Herald of Despair

Small Snippet of Novel:

"Well, let's get you aboard the Reckoning of the Cockatrice before the General decides to butt his head into our business despite washing his hands of the matter." Captain Josiah Everett led the trio of teenagers through the fort and to the Airship docks.

"Is it very likely that the General will interfere with your decision to help us?" Elizabet asked shyly.

Captain Josiah Everett laughed, "The General would have to leave his nice safe desk to even discover that you are aboard the Reckoning of the Cockatrice. The likelihood of that is slim to none. You'll be safe enough from the General." Captain Josiah grinned at the teens. He led them past the Merchant Airships docked for the night, and the smaller faster courier airships, to the row of docking slips that housed the large powerhouses of the Imperial Airship Fleet. The Reckoning of the Cockatrice was one of the newest sips ships out on the Frontier patrols. She had the latest and greatest aether technology and the heaviest armament of anything but the Heavy Aerial Warships that solely patrol the city bounds of the capital, protecting the Queen and Parliament.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Doxks

Herlad (Easy to guess, but I get points for its frequent appearance)

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Professionals on NaNoWriMo

The topic of NaNoWriMo has not only been filling my blog but my blog reader has also been peppered with blog posts by published authors and other experts regarding their thoughts on NaNoWriMo. Here's what I've seen so far, and I'll come back to add anymore that get posted!

John Scalzi (Author of Old Man's War and many others)
In which John Scalzi gives his two cents about NaNoWriMo and the current trend of professionals nay-saying.

Kate from Kt Literary (An Agent)
This is a nice solid supportive post from a literary Agent who has been a NaNoWriMo participant in years past.

Maggie Stiefvater (Author of Shiver, Linger and more)
In which, Maggie Stiefvater expresses her dislike for NaNoWriMo and does a bit of ranting.
The response to the feedback that was recieved for the the previous post and asks the participants among her followers about NaNoWriMo
Maggie Stiefvater had made her peace with NaNoWriMo and illustrates her thoughts with lovely and effective Visual Aids.

A. Victoria Mixon (Independent Editor)
Some excellent advice from an Editor plus bonus links to earlier posts that will help your Novel.

DonWon Song (Editor with Orbit)
A rebuttal to a specific post by a blogger with some lovely encouragement for NaNoWriMo participants.

Day 10 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 3184

Total Words Written: 19558

Write-ins attended: 6

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 2736

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 9564

Cups of Coffee: 8

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 5

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • I have my momentum back!
  • I'm almost to the point where my outline is incomplete, which is probably about a quarter of the way through the story.

Small Snippet of Novel:

Once Isabella had left the room, Oliver dragged himself out of the cot he was lying in. He stumbled his way across the room and collapsed onto the cot right next to Jasper's.

"Jasper, you awake?" Oliver whispered. He was rewarded by the Jasper rolling over to face him. Oliver paused considering what he wanted to ask, "Was that what you lost?" Oliver asked, looking meeting Jasper's eyes.

"Yes," Jasper responded verbally much to Oliver's surprise.

"I am so sorry." Oliver replied. The two boys were silent for awhile both of them mourning something that they couldn't have.

"So, this aether engine," Jasper begins, his voice a bit raspy. "How does it work?"

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Balnk

Ptreare

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 9 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 331

Total Words Written: 16374

Write-ins attended: 5

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 0

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 6828

Cups of Coffee: 7

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 4

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Real Life has taken its toll on NaNo
  • Yesterday, I didn't get anything written and today I was sick-ish and got a mere pittance written.
  • So far Week 2 kind of sucks, especially given how well Week 1 went.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Cautsious

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 7 of NaNoWriMo


General Stats:

Words Written Today: 2832

Total Words Written: 16043

Write-ins attended: 5

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 2831

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 6828

Cups of Coffee: 7

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 4

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Wish I'd gotten 10K done this weekend but 6K isn't bad!
  • This novel has eaten my brain. Seriously.
  • Finally got my explosion in!

Small Snippet of Novel:

There were a few noticeable wing beats and then a large explosion was heard. Oliver's eyes widened, "That shouldn't have happened. I have to go, they're going to need my help in the engine room. I'll be back when I can." Oliver rushed out of the room and took the stairs three at a time up to the engine room and grabbed the fire extinguisher at the entrance before cautiously entering unsure of what he would find. Oliver saw his cousin and fellow apprentice staring in shock at a fire growing every second around the steam engine. Oliver shoved his cousin away from the fire and initialized the fire extinguisher terrified that he wouldn't stop be able to keep the fire from reaching the aether tanks which would at worst, cause the Valor of the Sky to explode, and at best would deplete the aether stores completely and leave the ship and the crew plummeting to the ground to probable injury and death.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Iunner

Distruned

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 3205

Total Words Written: 13211

Write-ins attended: 3

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 0

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 3997

Cups of Coffee: 5

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 2

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 4

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Wish the NaNoWriMo site was up so I could update my word count
  • I have to write 7k words tomorrow to succeed at the 10K weekend challenge
  • Write or Die is still one of my favorite writing tools

Small Snippet of Novel:

Jasper Smith woke in a strange bed in a strange room. He didn't know where he is or how he got there. The last thing he remembered was taking payment for the work he and his Master had completed for the Valor of the Sky. Jasper tried to free his arms from the blanket unsuccessfully and was getting frustrated when a dark haired girl leaned over him and gently restrained his movements. He could feel the concern and sympathy pouring out from her as she explained why he shouldn't move. Her reasons sounded logical enough that he chose to lie still and let her take his pulse. While she was taking his pulse, Jasper began to reach out mentally in a wide sweep for a familiar mind. Before he knew it, the girl had released his wrist and was addressing him again but he wasn't paying any attention as he tried increasingly frantic to contact a familiar mind. When he failed completely at brushing against another mind, all he could think was that he knew needed to get away, now. His limbs weren't fully functional yet so all he really managed was a wild thrashing that apparently concerned his caretaker more than anything else. Her fear that he would hurt himself edged into his awareness, and he lay still again retreating into the safety of his own mind. He barely registered when the dark haired girl left the room and tried not to feel even more lonely when she was gone.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Isdablella

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 5 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1916

Total Words Written: 10006

Write-ins attended: 3

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1400

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 3997

Cups of Coffee: 4

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 1

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 3

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • I like write-ins!
  • It's bad for writing when your brain decides to try and cheat on your NaNo Novel with a short story about Unicorns vs Zombies in an epic battle for World Domination.
  • Didn't get to the scene that incorporates an explosion as part of a challenge to honor Guy Fawkes Day.

Small Snippet of Novel:

Captain Charles Hawk took the stairs up to the living level two at a time. He almost ran over his nephew, Richard who frequently served as his assistant. He stopped and barked out an order, "Find Minerva, and bring her to my office. Now!" Barely waiting for acknowledgement Captain Charles climbed the stairs all the way up to the top deck and stormed into his office. Captain Charles flung himself into the chair behind his desk and angrily fumbled out open the bottom drawer of his heavy wooden desk. He took out the glass he found there and the bottle of whiskey. Captain Charles poured two generous fingers of whiskey and threw the whole entire glass back, wincing at the burn but relishing the clarity that came with it. Captain Charles stood and quickly went to consult with the Navigator on duty. What they decided induced another wave of anger and an additional dose of helplessness since the current that the Valor of the Sky was riding was strong enough that in trying to fly counter to the current they would exhaust their supplies of water and coal just trying to get back to Royan, so the Red haired boy stolen away in his Airship would have just have to travel with them from for the three months it would take the Valor of the Sky to make its way back to Royan.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Enginge

Discrestion

Fumbed

Marlet

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 4 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1938

Total Words Written: 8089

Write-ins attended: 2

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 0

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 2597

Cups of Coffee: 3

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 1

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 3

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Take that, MC! You will do what I want. I am the writer and I have spoken.
  • Sometimes stepping away from the novel and taking a shower is exactly what is needed to solve a plot crisis.

Small Snippet of Novel:

As the large metal wings of the Valor of the Sky began to flap and generate lift, Minerva moved to look out over the railing. Looking over the town one last time, Minerva felt a wave of uncertainty. It wasn't too late, she could confess her weakness and the Valor of the Sky would land and she'd return the unconscious boy. Even as she thought that, she knew that she wouldn't. She had given too much, risked too much to stop now. She had to see this through to the end.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Trepediation

Sjy

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1991

Total Words Written: 6151

Write-ins attended: 2

Words Written at a Write-in Today: 1504

Total Words Written at Write-ins: 2597

Cups of Coffee: 2

Plans Changed to Accommodate More Writing: 1

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 3

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 2

Thoughts:

  • Apparently, I want to write a novel more than I want to learn to Salsa Dance
  • Banjos are really distracting on their own, but live celtic and folk music is actually pretty good for my writing speed
  • Wine appears to have an adverse effect on my ability to produce words
  • One of my Main Characters is being uncooperative. She is refusing to decide to kidnap another main character and get the plot moving.

Small Snippet of Novel:

Since the town was nearly on the edge of civilization, there weren't very many merchant houses that sent Trading Ships out that far. Minerva shrugged her shoulder, it was the loss of the other Houses since, as the one of the few ships that traversed that far west there was a great deal of profit to be made for the Hawk Family. Towns that saw Merchants Ships as rarely as the Frontier towns did were always glad to spend money on the trade goods being offered; either as a taste of the exotic or a familiar relic of a former life. Either way it was profitable for the Hawk Family and the trade goods that the Valor of the Sky picked up in the Frontier towns sold equally well in the height of Civilization. Assuming that the Airships Pirates didn't interfere too badly with the trade routes, of course.

NaNo-isms of the Day:

Sockier, abthes

Can you guess what words these were supposed to be?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written Today: 1937

Total Words Written: 4160

Write-ins attended: 1

Words Written at Write-ins: 1093

Cups of Coffee: 1

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 2

Scenes I forgot to Plot Out: 1

Scenes Written that I'm likely to Cut in December: 1


Thoughts:

  • Copy novel progress over from Google Docs before heading over to a new location for a Write-in. My laptop doesn't always play well with new wireless networks.
  • I don't write or plot very linearly.
  • Writing in Coffee shops makes me want to drink far more coffee than is advisable.


Small Snippet of Novel:

Minerva Chadwick nee Hawk leaned against the railing at the stern of the Hawk Family owned and operated Merchant Airship, the Valor of the Sky watching the steam-powered metal wings rise and fall and twist to a new angle to direct the Airship in the desired direction. The mechanical clink, plink, grinding and whir of the wing mechanism were a oddly comforting and familiar sound to a woman who had spent more of her life aboard the Hawk Family's small fleet of Merchant Airships.

NaNo-ism of the Day:

Beforing

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo

General Stats:

Words Written: 2223

Write-in's attended: 0

Cups of Coffee: 0

Named Characters Killed: 1

Number of Airships: 2


Thoughts:

  • Having an outline with plot, characters and some detailed scenes written before November makes a big difference in doing NaNoWriMo
  • In one day, I've written over a quarter of what I wrote last year.


General Premise of my Novel:

Steampunk Adventure/Fantasy! A grieving Mother traveling and working on the Hawk Family Merchant Airship, Valor of the Sky, kidnaps a boy from a community of psychics who live mentally entwined with each other. The novel follows the boy's adjustment to living alone in his own mind and his sister's adventure to bring him safely home.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello November!

Happy November!

Also known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes over my life and my blog.

2009 was my first year doing NaNoWriMo and while I didn't win (~7,000 words), it taught me a lot about my writing process. For that matter it started me writing again after basically a four year break for college.

So going into NaNoWriMo 2010, I'm doing a few things differently:
- I started plotting and brainstorming in October (not November 3rd)
- I have an outline that consists of more than a single sentence prompt
- I'm not only going to be attending write-ins but I have organized one

I'm am going to win NaNoWriMo this year!

Friday, October 15, 2010

From My Reader: The Bloggess

This week's From My Reader highlights the whimsical stylings of Jenny, The Bloggess:

http://thebloggess.com/

The Bloggess is a crazy prolific Blogger who in addition to her personal blog writes an advice column, a sex column and column on being a mother. Most of these are satirical rather than serious, which makes them even better. Also, she has a very cute six-year-old and a husband who is equal parts amused and bewildered by her thought processes, both of which are frequently featured in her posts. Her advice column is one of the best I've read...as long as you don't expect there to be any advice you can use.

Some of my Favorite Posts:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Recipe: Apple-Dijon Pork Roast

Recipe: Apple-Dijon Pork Roast

Ingredients:
1 boneless whole pork loin roast
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1cup unsweetened apple juice
½ cup dijon mustard
6 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons water
Directions:
Cut roast in half; place in slow cooker. Combine the broth, apple juice, and mustard; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 4-1/2 hours
Remove roast and keep warm. For gravy strain cooking juices and skim fat. Pour juices into a small saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with pork.